Marc Fournier is a Managing Partner at Serena Capital in Paris, France. Marc co-founded Serena Capital in 2008, and to date the company has established over a dozen successful businesses as well as assisted many entrepreneurs in starting and establishing their own businesses. Today Marc discusses his remarkable career and gives us great advice on how to turn ideas into successful businesses. Marc tells us “opportunities are everywhere” (6:26) and his inspiring interview may be the catalyst you need to get started.

In This Episode:

  • Marc shares his past entrepreneurial experiences. He started at age 7 selling lemonade!
  • We discuss Marc’s first formal business venture right out of school, and what he learned from starting his own translation company.
  • Marc tells us what advice he would give to his younger self (and you!) as he looks back on his career so far.
  • What is his take on “free flow”? He talks about identifying opportunities and finding ways to make them better.
  • Marc gives us examples of how he found opportunities and turned them into profitable businesses.
  • We hear his answer to the statement, “I would love to be an entrepreneur but I just don’t have a good idea…”.
  • Marc elaborates on his belief that you don’t necessarily need a totally unique idea, but tells us that what you do need to succeed is execution. “He or she who runs the fastest, wins”(8:30).
  • We learn what the two criteria are that Marc looks for when he contemplates getting involved , and why these personality traits are rare to find together, but can be the magic that helps a company succeed.
  • Marc shares his expertise on the state of the French ecosystem, and why Paris is one of the top 5 cities worldwide to launch a startup.
  • We go beyond startups to discuss expansion, and why the U.S. is so desirable and attainable.
  • Why should you buy the New York Times and go to some ball games? The answer is not what you might think. Marc says it is important to “Americanize” yourself if you want to find success in the U.S.
  • Marc identifies why some countries are more difficult than others to expand into, and why this is so.
  • His advice to pitch givers boils down to two questions, what is the problem and what is the solution. “If you are capable of explaining …what the problem is, what the solution is, and what the market size is, you have already gone a long way with any investor”(20:30).
  • Marc talks about the incubator he started in 2000 “Kangaroo Village” and how it is different than the incubators we are seeing today.
  • Marc tells us “entrepreneurship excites me”(22:45) and shares in more detail why that is, and what he doesn’t like about the businesses he starts.
  • What are Marc’s habits for a successful life? Among other secrets, he shares that being organized is key and how he creates organization for optimal results on a daily basis.
  • We get advice for people wanting to take the first steps at starting their business.
  • Homework from Marc: Listen to the speech Steve Jobs gave to the graduating class of Stanford University in 2005.